A bit boggy with back-story, the third but not necessarily final volume nonetheless brings a satisfying end to the chaos that set plucky librarians fleeing at the close of The Destruction of the Books (2004).
Beginning with the cataclysmic destruction of the Vault of All Knowledge, Odom then transports us to sea. There, Librarian Juhg nurses his guilt. Juhg brought to the Vault the enchanted book that destroyed it, then he allowed Grandmagister Librarian Edgewick (Wick) Lamplighter to be kidnapped by the evil goblin sorcerer Aldran Khempus. After surviving an attack by a monstrous hoar-worm, the wizard Craugh carves up the beastie and kills an enchanted sorceress imprisoned in a jewel inside the worm’s stomach. That’s just a prelude to telling Juhg an involved tale about Craugh’s role in stealing the Book of Time, a volume so powerful that it can alter the past and future. The wizard also reveals that Wick deliberately let himself be captured as part of a larger plan to help Craugh get the Book of Time before Khempus does. Many, many details, here and later in the narrative, tend to slow the desperate race through wild, scary and occasionally funny fantasy locales to find the Book of Time. After momentarily abandoning his attempt to rescue the kidnapped librarian, Juhg discovers and decodes a diary left by Wick that provides important clues to the locations of the Book’s four parts. Odom pulls the last 200 pages to a rousing, if predictable conclusion, with breathless chases, escapes and magical mayhem happening at breakneck speed.
Lively, charming and coyly amusing, but much too similar to current and previous genre blockbusters.